John Thomas "Tom" Graves, Jr. (born February 3, 1970) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 9th congressional district, serving since a special election in 2010. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is located in the northern part of the state, including much of the north Georgia mountains. It runs along the border with Tennessee from Dade to Union counties, and extends southward to the fringes of the Atlanta metropolitan area. The 9th is a heavily Republican district; according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, it is the third most Republican district in the nation and the most Republican district in the Eastern Time Zone.
Graves formerly served in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Early life, education, and career
Graves was born in St.
Petersburg, Florida on February 3, 1970. He graduated from Cass High School of Cartersville, Georgia, and earned a B.B.A. from the University of Georgia. Graves was a business owner prior to being elected to public office. He currently lives in Ranger, Georgia, southeast of Dalton.
Graves served as State Representative for Georgia's 12th district from 2003 to 2010.
As State Representative Graves served on the Transportation, Ways and Means and Health and Human Services committee, as well as serving as Vice Chairman of the Motor Vehicles committee.
U.S. House of Representatives
Graves finished first in the special election held on May 11, 2010 after Nathan Deal resigned from Congress to run for governor, and proceeded to a run-off which was held on June 8, 2010. He won the runoff against former State Senator Lee Hawkins.
Graves faced Hawkins again in the July 20, 2010 Republican primary for the November general election. He came in first but fell short of the requisite 50% plus one majority in order to avoid a runoff and would once again face Hawkins in the primary runoff. This was the fourth time Graves faced Hawkins as an opponent in both the special and general primaries along with their respective runoffs.
The 9th district is so heavily Republican that whoever won the runoff was all but assured of winning a full term. Graves won the primary runoff on August 10, 2010. He won the November 2, 2010 general election unopposed.
Graves and his wife Julie have three children and are active members of Belmont Baptist Church in Calhoun, Georgia.
In 2011, Graves and a business partner (state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers) were accused of defaulting on a $2.2 million bank loan for a real estate investment. Attorneys for Graves argued that the bank had been at fault for loaning him money that they knew he couldn't repay, making the signed personal guarantees invalid. Graves and his partner were no longer involved with the company used to take out the loan after transferring ownership to another party in 2009.
The new owner (the hotel's former manager) agreed to purchase the company and its real estate and debt from Graves and Rogers for $10,000 but says they never actually required him to pay them anything. The default on Graves' loan contributed significantly to the collapse of the Bartow County Bank (the small community bank which loaned the $2.2 million to Graves). The bank's collapse and liquidation cost the FDIC $69.5 million. According to Morgan Akin (the former bank chairman), he only approved the loan to Graves and Rodgers because, "They were well-respected members of the community, and we took that into account," and he never imagined such prominent political figures would default. Furthermore, although Graves and Rogers claimed the new owner of the company only defaulted on the loan because the bank reneged on a promise to refinance, the bank countered that the loan was in default before the sale of their company and they invalidated their refinancing deal because they sold the company without informing the bank. In August 2011, the bank's dispute with Graves was settled out of court and no details of the settlement were disclosed. The property which was purchased with the bank loan, was stripped of anything valuable by its new owner and is now abandoned and become an eyesore. Due to unpaid property taxes going back to 2009, the city may have to seize the property and spend over $100,000 to secure and eventually demolish it.
October 19th, 2011